While you were probably watching the action from your couch during the 2016 Final Four, the student sections in Houston were going crazy. And with the help of some new technology from a company called Lightwave, our friends at Degree for Men wanted to find out just how much impact the fans in the stadium could have on the outcome of the games.
Over a Final Four weekend that included a training session on the Houston Rockets practice court and a Sunday morning brunch with Jay Williams, a former National Player of the Year and National Champion at Duke, and Rana June, the CEO of Lightwave, we learned about Degree’s Final Four Fan Movement Study.
As an official partner of the NCAA, Degree outfitted roughly 100 fans in all parts of the stadium—mostly in the student sections—with Lightwave wristbands to track movement and energy. With two blowout games on Saturday, we learned that Villanova fans had the most pre-game energy of the four fan bases. Here are the charts from the first two games:
See Saturday's charts: pic.twitter.com/Pl6wY2SJHx
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) April 4, 2016
The most interesting moment of the Degree Final Four Fan Movement Study—and the whole tournament—was of course Kris Jenkins’ game-winning three-pointer to win the National Championship Game.
According to Lightwave, when Jenkins hit the game winning shot, Villanova fans reached an average G-force of 1.9, which is the force equivalent to a Bugatti going from 0 to 60MPH in 2.5 seconds. Check out the chart—you might be able to pick out where the game-winner is on the axis:
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) April 6, 2016
During the title game, North Carolina fans were actually louder, but according to Lightwave’s data, the Nova fans were more active, in terms of movement. From Degree:
While the fans were extremely loud, UNC was louder – however according to Lightwave data, Nova fans moved more, with the fan bases total movement numbers equaling UNC: 105k and Nova: 114k. Total movement is a running second by second tally of average movement over the game.
In theory, if you believe the data, Jenkins and Nova could have been riding an emotional and psychological high in the game’s waning seconds, thanks to the activity of their fans.
Obviously, there’s more work to be done in studying fan movement and energy, since tracking the actual influence of crowd involvement might have on the outcome of a game remains intangible. For now. That’s where Degree and Lightwave say they want to go next, to tackle the “chicken vs. egg” relationship of crowd excitement and on-court results.
Where it goes from here, we’ll just have to wait and see. But they picked a heck of a game to start with.